Bird Flu: What is Avian Influenza and is it present in the UK?

What is it?

where do i buy Pregabalin Bird flu is a disease that most birds can catch. It is caused by the Avian Influenza virus and occurs naturally in aquatic birds such as wild ducks, geese, swans and gulls. It can also infect domestic poultry and other animal species too. Occasionally, it has also been known to infect humans. For instance, the strain H5N1 continues to infect humans sporadically. It is a cause of concern as it has the potential to become a pandemic virus.

Is bird flu different to human flu?

Ålesund Avian Influenza is typically caused by Type A Influenza viruses which are separated into subtypes based on the proteins on their surface. You may have heard the viruses referred to as H5N1 or H1N1. These names denote the different proteins on their surface, which let the virus get into cells. The H stands for Haemaglutinin (H) and the N stands for Neuraminidase. There are 18 H types and 11 N types in total, with a large number of combinations, some more pathogenic than others. Some subtypes are only found in certain animals and in certain locations around the world, hence the term “bird flu” or “swine flu” as a subtype typically found in birds or pigs (but are sometimes zoonotic, which means they can infect across to humans). There are only two main subtypes of Influenza A that are found in humans, H1N1 and H3N2, but humans have been known to be infected with other zoonotic types.

How deadly is it?

Pathanāmthitta Avian Influenza strains are categorized as Highly Pathogenic (HPAI) or Low Pathogenic (LPAI). This is based on their ability to cause mortality in birds. In the UK, each type of influenza is categorized into high or low pathogenicity and then monitored based on this. HPAI infections can kill birds within 48 hours in 90-100% infections so these outbreaks must be swiftly controlled.  

Recent outbreaks of bird flu in the UK

Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease in the UK, and if suspected in any type of bird, then it must be reported immediately to DEFRA.

Due to recent outbreaks in the UK, DEFRA have imposed an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone. This covers the whole of the UK. This means that all poultry keepers must take the extra biosecurity measures set in place to protect their poultry from risk of bird flu from wild birds. Keep an eye out for any signs of bird flu in your flock. Furthermore, all bird gatherings are prohibited. 

3 cases have been confirmed in the UK recently:

Strain H5N8 detected in broilers in Leominster, Herefordshire on 11th November 2020 with HPAI. A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone have been put in place around the infected premises.

Strain HPAI H5N8 confirmed in Frodsham, Cheshire on the 2nd November 2020. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have also been put in place around the infected premises. 

LPAI H5N2 strain confirmed in Deal, Kent on 2nd November 2020. A 1km LPAI Restricted Zone was then put around the premises. 

Due to recent confirmed cases, the risk level in wild birds has been raised from medium to high, on the 6thNovember 2020.


You can check if your area is affected by these zones using this interactive mapThis resource from the government tells you how to spot symptoms in your birds.

Details of increased biosecurity measures and more information on the current status of outbreaks within the UK can be found here. An updated outbreak assessment HPAI in UK and Europe was published on 6 November 2020 and can be found here.